I went to the park by my house yesterday morning to play some basketball. As most tax-paying citizens were beginning their work days, I was working on my jumper and thinking about possible ideas for this blog. I couldn't help but think about comparisons between the upcoming journey through Business School and some of my previous endeavors.
It seems that whether I was four years old walking into pre-school, or 27 heading into my first day of the Illinois MBA program, many things are quite similar, only with a more modern twist. Crayons and coloring books are now replaced with Ipads and tablet PCs. Snack time followed by a nap is replaced by Jimmy John's on the run and struggling to stay awake in afternoon lectures. Recess is replaced with afterschool jobs or volunteer projects. The social dynamic shifts from kids in the corner playing with blocks to adults in the back of the room glued to their blackberries. We all want to walk in day one and become best friends with everyone. Playing together nicely leads to rewards from the teacher while demonstrating a keen ability to achieve success through presentations and group projects will soon lead to job offers from leading businesses around the world. The feelings of nervousness and uncertainty remain constant no matter the age or amount of life experience.
Another thought that had me laughing (while sinking a ridiculous amount of three pointers) was the ironic comparison of my feelings at this point in my life compared to the emotions I experienced prior to my 2008 deployment to Afghanistan to serve as a Naval Officer alongside the U.S. Army in Kabul. I'm not sure exactly what it says about me as a person that I'm probably just as nervous heading into day one of the Illinois MBA as I was flying in a C-130 from Kyrgyzstan into Kabul for ten months. I think the goal in both circumstances remains the same, get the job done and make it out alive!
Heading into our first day of orientation on Monday, the nerves I'm experiencing are no doubt shared by most, if not all, of my classmates. Growing up in a small farm town in South Central Illinois did not afford me an extremely diverse student body as I made it through middle school and high school. However, I'm now walking into a learning environment that might best be described as the polar opposite situation. I will represent the exception in the Illinois MBA program. I'm not an international student. I haven't traveled a vast distance to Urbana-Champaign (my hometown is only a two hour drive down the highway) for my education. My resume is not filled with impressive business credentials from Fortune 500 companies (Is the US Navy a Fortune 500 company?). I'm really just a normal guy from the Midwest who works hard and has a desire to make it in today's business world. This is my chance to show that I have what it takes and to prove I belong in a great B-School program surrounded by great people.
So there you have it folks, B-School Boy Blog entry #1. While I'd like to use this blog as an opportunity to reflect on my personal journey through Business School, I hope that I can spark some interest in my peers and anyone else who might find these entries entertaining. It’s not about me, but more about the chance to inform, entertain, and interact with everyone who wants to read the blog. I wanted to keep this one slightly more tame and straightforward. I fully intend to expand the topics and entertainment value as the blog continues to develop its own identity. The current goal is to post at least two blogs each week. The next entry will cover the awkwardness/awesomeness that is MBA orientation week!
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Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and read the blog! I hope you found it worth reading and worth a return trip to the site. Best of luck to the Illinois MBA class of 2012! I can’t wait to meet you all on Monday.